The Lost Room and The Theory Of Too-Good TV
Just started, Supersusan and I, to rewatch The Lost Room, a 3-part miniseries aired on the SciFi Channel in December 2006. Don`t have time to go into the detail of it, suffice to say that the story involved a bunch of strange, everyday-looking objects which have strange properties; turns out all these objects were in a motel room when – SOMETHING TERRIBLE – happeneed, dislocating the room and all its contents from space-time. The main character in the series, Joe Hill (played by Peter Krause) is a cop who gets hold of the key to the Room – the key can unlock any door and turn it into the door to the Room and from the Room you can go anywhere, pretty much, so long as there`s a door to come out of.
The objects are many and bizarre, like the wristwatch which boils an egg if you put it inside the wristband. But, combine the watch with the pocketknife and you are able to read minds.
The possibilities and implications are many and possibly pretty wild too. An absolute cinch for a full-run TV series, wouldn`t ya think? But no – some pinhead with the brains of a calculator merely looked at the viewing figures (it was aired in a not-particularly great part of the schedule) and decided `Meh` which meant that it went nowhere. The writer, Christopher Leone, was probably sickened at being shafted – I know I would have been (and look at Firefly for another brilliant TV exec decision).
I have a theory that TV execs have a secret device with which they can analyse a television drama and calculate how much Quality it has, and if there`s too much quality in the show, kersplash, it gets canned.
Hmm, this device should have a name, on which I shall ponder more.
Supersusan came up with a name for the anti-TV-quality device – the Qualiminator! Pretty good, I think, and what’s more, I reckon that this is a 2-way device. Feed good programme ideas into it and it’ll produce some equivalent that is demeaning or debased; once upon a time on British tv there was a prog called ‘Face The Music’, a classical music game show whose guests included the likes of David Attenborough, Bernard Levin, Joyce Grenfell, Michael Bentine and Robin Ray, and it was cultured and clever and gently witty so I imagine that if you fed that into the Qualiminator you’d end up with something like X-Factor or Pop Idol, something with the IQ of a lame beetle. I mean, there has to be some explanation for the existence of such pukefests as the Jeremy Kyle Show or anything with Jim Davidson!
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